Gail Ritchie Contemporary Art
January is a long and dark month but it can also be the start of something new. This can be as simple as trying out a new material and being excited by the possiblities that arise from play and experimentation. Shown here are examples of my first forays into using bio-plastic. Previous attempts at making my own from potato starch were marked as a resounding fail. The bought variety comes in bags similar to a bag of lentils. They have an alchemical quality . When dropped into hot water these grains coalesce, become translucent and maleable. They can be rolled, stretched and pulled in any direction before they harden into shape. If this shape is not desirable, they can be dropped back into water and re-formed. The image above shows bio-plastic petals, made with a mix of black and white grains. They look like agate or mussel shells. I am using them to make a floral wreath as part of a reflection on the shape of mourning. It struck me that the stages involved in the making of these petals are not unlike the stages of grief. Before loss we are one thing. After it we are another. We change; we are stretched and fragile and we show the marks of our experience on the surface. We become hard but we can become vulnerable and receptive again in the right circumstance. We are singular but we are not alone. How would you describe the shape of mourning?
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